What are the health benefits of a Keto diet?

People often embark on a Keto diet due to all of the glowing reviews they hear from others. Typically this diet is promoted as a great option for weight loss. This weight loss tends to be from the abdomen which makes it even more appealing. Many report feeling better mentally and a feeling of clarity. It’s also been reported to potentially raise good cholesterol, lower blood sugar and insulin, and improve bad cholesterol. It’s also been used to aid in preventing or reducing seizures in those who don’t respond to medications. 

Are there any negative side effects of a Keto diet?

Protein sources - meat, fish, cheese, nuts, beans and greens.

The Keto diet may have several negative side effects. It’s important to note that while a Keto diet generally isn’t recommended as a long-term or life-long diet, many of its side effects most likely are due to it being high in animal-based products, which are not beneficial for one’s health. Embarking on a vegan Keto diet may result in some of these side effects but most likely won’t result in all of them or as severely as a diet including animal products. 

One commonly discussed side effect is the Keto Flu. It is typically short-lived as one begins their Keto journey and occurs as the body switches from using carbohydrates as a fuel source to fat. The symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headaches or fatigue. Another symptom that is common is constipation on a Keto diet. Typically, eating more high fiber foods such as broccoli, avocados, chia seeds and leafy greens can easily remedy this. Additionally, the lack of a wide range of plant foods can affect our gut’s diversity and starve the probiotics of beneficial prebiotics to help them thrive. Additionally, low carb, animal-based diets have been known to cause “a significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality”. So as with all diets, it’s important to research all of the benefits and potential risks and assess your health goals to see if it’s the best option to achieve those.

How does a vegan Keto diet differ from a traditional Keto diet?

One search online will reveal just how different a traditional Keto diet is from a vegan Keto diet. Those on a keto diet tend to rely on high-fat animal-based foods for the majority of their daily calories. Foods such as meat, cheesebutter, seafood and eggs tend to be emphasized. A vegan Keto diet is completely different in its execution as it’s all plant-based. Fats will come from sources such as avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds and oils rather than animal-based sources. So while those who follow a Keto diet and vegan Keto diet may have the same goals, they approach it with much different foods and may have different levels of success and side effects because of this.

What are the daily macronutrient goals people have for a Keto diet?

As a Keto Diet is a high fat, low carb and moderate to low protein diet, it's important to know what your target goals are for those macronutrients to achieve ketosis and whatever other health goals you have. It is generally thought of as about 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrates. These percentages refer to the amount of calories derived from those sources and may vary by five to ten percent depending on your own preferences and goals. 

Carbohydrates are a bit tough for some people to cut down on or give up, however, you’re still able to have some daily on a Keto diet. Most people agree that 50 grams of net carbs a day or less is the range you want to stay in for Ketosis. Net Carbs refers to taking the amount of carbohydrates in an item and subtracting from that the fiber in the food since fiber is not digested.

Foods to Focus on

This list can vary greatly depending on your own personal goals or dietary considerations, but generally, this list is a great place to start when stocking up for your Keto vegan journey.  Fatty foods, as well as low starch vegetables, are emphasized on a Vegan Keto Diet.

vegan keto diet
  • Avocados
  • Fresh Coconut Meat
  • Raw, sprouted, or roasted nuts
  • Raw, sprouted or roasted nut butters
  • Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, romaine, collard greens, dandelion and arugula
  • Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, greens beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, celery and mushrooms
  • Plant oils such as avocado, coconut, olive and hemp

Foods to Enjoy Sparingly

These foods may find themselves in your daily diet or they may be too high in net carbs for your personal diet, so research them and read labels before automatically filling up on some of these high-carb or packaged foods. Most of these foods are wonderful replacements if you have a craving for something but don’t want to completely abandon your Keto diet.

  • Low sugar fruits such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, grapefruit, lemons and limes
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Coconut yogurt such as natural coyo or cocoyo
  • Flax crackers
  • Hu crackers (grain-free)
  • Simple Mills crackers (grain-free)

Foods to Exclude in Your Vegan Keto Diet

These foods may find themselves in your daily diet or they may be too high in net carbs for your personal diet, so research them and read labels before automatically filling up on some of these high-carb or packaged foods. Most of these foods are wonderful replacements if you have a craving for something but don’t want to completely abandon your Keto diet.

  • No grains including corn
  • No beans or lentils - some people do choose to keep these in however they are substantial sources of protein and carbohydrates so should be used sparingly or for a low carb diet but not a Keto one
  • Fruit (unless its small amounts of the low sugar fruits mentioned above)
  • No potatoes
  • No added sugars whether refined, maple syrup, coconut sugar or dried fruit
  • Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and beets

The Best Keto Vegan Recipes

Recipe: Keto Overnight “Oats”

Where to Find it: Healthful Pursuit

Why We Love it: What could be better than a filling and comforting breakfast? This healthy oat alternative is full of Omega 3’s and a variety of minerals thanks to Hemp seeds. Additionally, it’s full of healthy fat to keep you full and fueled for hours.

Our Suggestions: We love this idea and the possibilities are endless! You could stir in maca and top with cacao nibs for a superfood bowl. You could add in lemon juice and top with shredded coconut, berries and a hint of almond butter for a delicious sweeter bowl.

Recipe: Vegan Keto Bagels

Where to Find it: Meat Free Keto

Why We Love it: Everyone misses their carb favorites such as bread and bagels, and luckily this recipe delivers an amazing bagel that won’t have you missing out on your old favorites! You can use it for breakfast or for sandwiches so it’s incredibly versatile.

Our Suggestions:  Make a batch or two of this at the beginning of the week for easy grab and go options. You can eat it with oil, avocado or cultured vegan butter for breakfast. You can easily through on sprouts, tomato, a vegan cream cheese and tempeh or avocado for a filling sandwich. And you can even make it a sweeter option by spreading it with almond butter and topping with a few mashed berries for a riff on peanut butter and jelly!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Keto Low Carb Smoothie with Almond Milk

Where to Find it: Food Faith Fitness

Why We Love it: Smoothies are such an easy and quick way to get breakfast or a snack in, and this combination is amazing! We love peanut butter and chocolate and this recipe couldn’t be easier!

Our Suggestions: If you want to upgrade your smoothie, consider adding in a few handfuls of leafy greens such as spinach or kale. Additionally, swap out the cocoa powder and use raw cacao powder instead for an extra dose of antioxidants and energy.

Recipe: Super Eggy Vegan Tofu Scramble

Where to Find it: Loving it Vegan

Why We Love it: This is a great low carb and filling option for when you’re just feeling hungry but maybe don’t want as much fat. Tofu is higher in protein and lower in fat, so be sure to pay attention to how often you indulge.

Our Suggestions: This delicious recipe is a great option for a lower carb and filling meal. We suggest swapping out traditional soy-based tofu for hemp-based. While hemp tofu can be harder to find, it’s higher in fat, making it more in alignment with a Keto diet and making this meal an option for regular use. Consider topping it with a bit of salsa and fresh avocado for a Mexican inspired meal!

Recipe: Low Carb Vegan Pancakes

Where to Find it: Meat Free Vegan

Why We Love it: Vegan low carb pancakes? Yes, please! These pancakes use almond butter so they have a slightly sweet flavor while still being high in fat and Keto compliant. It’s a great option for every day or just when you’re really craving something comforting.

Our Suggestions: This recipe is perfect as is, our suggestions have to do with toppings! A hint of stevia-sweetened coconut cream, some mashed berries, or a hefty serving of Miyoko’s butter would all be amazing options.

Recipe: Vegan Bullet Coffee

Where to Find it: The Work Top

Why We Love it: Bulletproof coffee has long been praised for its energy boost minus the jitters and its prolonged filling feeling. This vegan one gives the same benefits minus the dairy, score! The inclusion of cacao butter is a great alternative to butter and gives a delicious light chocolatey flavor.

Our Suggestions: We love the idea of adding so much fat for a truly filling and Keto friendly smoothie. To make it fewer carbs, consider using fresh hemp milk in place of oat milk. And try swapping out coconut oil for MCT or XCT oil for an extra boost!

Recipe: 15 Minutes Healthy Cauliflower Fried Rice

Where to Find it: Sandhya’s Kitchen

Why We Love it: This recipe is absolutely delicious and so flavorful you’ll want to eat it all day long!

Our Suggestions: If you’re close to hitting your carb mark for the day, consider omitting the peas and carrots and instead, use something like broccoli or green beans.

Recipe: Keto Cauliflower Hummus

Where to Find it: Fat for Weight Loss

Why We Love it: This recipe is an absolutely genius way to be able to enjoy hummus while still following a Keto diet. It’s easily changeable too, so it can take on a variety of different flavors so that it doesn’t get old.

Our Suggestions: We suggest changing the seasonings to keep it interesting. Try blending in roasted red pepper, or sundried tomatoes. Using spice blends like a Cajun seasoning or Pizza seasoning can also impart a uniquely delicious flavor.

Recipe: Avocado Pesto

Where to Find it: Detoxinista

Why We Love it: The recipe is so simple and amazingly fresh tasting. It’s great served over zucchini pasta or you can simply use it as a dip.

Our Suggestions: If you want this to taste a little more authentic, consider adding in a tbsp or two of olive oil. Adding in 1/4 cup of pine nuts or walnuts would also be delicious ways to boost the flavor and the fat.

Recipe: Greek Cauliflower Pasta Salad

Where to Find it: Detoxinista

Why We Love it: We want to say this recipe is NOT vegan, but its too good to exclude, especially since it’s so easy to veganize. Simply omit the feta or use high fat, low carb vegan cheese from your local grocery store. The use of cauliflower in place of pasta for this dish is genius and it truly is incredibly similar to pasta salad!

Our Suggestions: We suggest finding a great feta replacement whether its an aged nut cheese or simply making an easy Brazil nut parmesan to toss atop your salad. Another delicious addition would be adding a few minced leaves of fresh mint.

Recipe: Dreamy Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

Where to Find it: The Endless Meal

Why We Love it: This cauliflower alfredo sauce is so delicious and creamy, you’ll want to be making it weekly! You can serve it over zucchini pasta or use it as a dip!

Our Suggestions: This alfredo is incredible and so versatile! Consider using this to cover roasted eggplant rounds or zucchini rounds, also topped with a bit of olive oil and nut-based parmesan for a cheesy vegetable bake!

Recipe: Healthy Blueberry Keto Fat Bombs

Where to Find it: Hungry for Inspiration

Why We Love it: This recipe is delicious and while it’s not vegan, it is so easy to veganize and so unique we just had to add it! Simply replace the butter with coconut oil or Miyoko’s vegan butter.

Our Suggestions: This recipe is amazing! We suggest experimenting with strawberries or raspberries, just make sure that when they cook down the texture is similar to the blueberries.

Recipe: Avocado Fries

Where to Find it: The Mindful Avocado

Why We Love it: Let’s be honest, you probably don’t need more ways to eat avocado, but why not? These fries are incredible and a great alternative to plain, blended or guacamole style avocado.

Our Suggestions: Simply mix up the seasonings you use for different variations. A curry seasoning or a bbq spice mix could be absolutely delicious and keep these unique.

Recipe: Pecan Fat Bombs

Where to Find it: Create Mindfully

Why We Love it: Fat bombs are great options for when you need something quick! These are so simple and delicious and additionally, this site has several other vegan fat bomb recipes to give you options.

Our Suggestions: Try swapping out the pecans for different nuts like Brazil nuts or walnuts. You could also try swapping the coconut oil out for cacao butter for a lightly chocolatey treat.

Recipe: Roasted Whole30 Greek Salad

Where to Find it: What Great Grandma Ate

Why We Love it: This flavorful recipe is easy to make and really comforting, making it a great go-to option when you’re craving roasted veggies but don’t have your normal carb options available.

Our Suggestions: Trying adding in different vegetables such as Brussel sprouts or spinach or green beans for a bit of variation.

Recipe: Easy Keto Vegan Salad

Where to Find it: Megan Seelinger

Why We Love it: This whole foods based salad is so simple and absolutely delicious. The fresh greens and fruit are a delightful departure from dense dishes which are commonplace on a Keto diet.

Our Suggestions: Consider using a different fruit in place of blueberries. If you can’t get the specific dressing, try a simple vinaigrette or a hemp seed-based ranch.

Additional Recipe Ideas

A few other ideas for those on a Vegan Keto Diet for quick and easy food:

  • Nut butters with veggies
  • Celery and nut butters such as almond butter topped with cacao nibs
  • Cucumber slices with a nut dip or vegan cream cheese in between as a sandwich
  • Crispy romaine leaves with nut butter, topped with olives and sprouts
  • Smoothies
  • Add in avocados for thickness and extra fat
  • Use canned coconut cream with chia seeds in smoothies for thickness and fat

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